Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS4392760 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 06/386,512
Publication dateJul 12, 1983
Filing dateJun 9, 1982
Priority dateMar 2, 1981
Fee statusPaid
Publication number06386512, 386512, US 4392760 A, US 4392760A, US-A-4392760, US4392760 A, US4392760A
InventorsRudolph E. Futer
Original AssigneeFuterized Systems, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Surface flow air conveyor with plenum mounted fan wheel
US 4392760 A
Abstract
A surface flow air conveyor pressurized by a motor driven open wheel fan mounted within the plenum or in a separate pod housing attached to the plenum. The standard scroll housing is eliminated and the fan wheel draws air directly through an opening in the plenum without the use of ducts. The fan wheel is mounted between the ends of the conveyor rather than beyond the ends of the conveyor. The conveyor may be divided into mass produced modules with the option of providing a fan wheel pod in selected modules.
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(2)
I claim:
1. An air conveyor for elevating and moving objects longitudinally along said conveyor comprising:
a. an elongated conveyor member formed with a plurality of directional slit orifices extending substantially evenly spaced there along and substantially the entire length of said elongated conveyor member;
b. an elongated plenum having a bottom wall and sidewalls immediately adjacent to and co-extensive and communicating with said conveyor member and having upstream and downstream ends and formed with a circular supply-air inlet opening in one of said sidewalls having a diameter less than the width of said sidewall;
c. a high performance wheel fan member for pressurizing said plenum totally enclosed within said plenum member and mounted in communication with said supply-air inlet opening.
2. An air conveyor for elevating and moving objects longitudinally along said conveyor comprising:
a. an elongated conveyor member formed with a plurality of directional slit orifices extending substantially evenly spaced there along and substantially the entire length of said elongated conveyor member;
b. an elongated plenum having a bottom wall and sidewalls immediately adjacent to and co-extensive and communicating with said conveyor member and having upstream and downstream ends;
c. an elongated opening formed in a portion of said bottom wall of said plenum having an upstream end and a downstream end and substantially co-extensive with said sidewalls of said plenum;
d. a fan wheel housing having a bottom wall with an upstream end connected to said upstream end of said opening, a mid bottom wall portion projecting away from said opening and a downstream end connected to said downstream end of said opening, and fan wheel sidewalls joining said wheel housing bottom wall and said sides of said elongated opening in said plenum and formed with a circular supply-air inlet opening in one of said wheel housing sidewalls;
e. a high performance wheel fan member for pressurizing said plenum totally enclosed within said fan wheel housing and mounted in communication with said supply-air inlet opening;
f. said opening in said portion of said bottom wall of said plenum has a length greater than the diameter of said wheel fan; and
g. said wheel fan member is located with respect to said conveyor member so as to direct air flow upstream as well as downstream in said plenum.
Description

This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 06/239,366, filed Mar. 2, 1981, now abandoned, which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 80,076, filed Sept. 28, 1979, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is standard state of the art practice to provide a scroll housing around wheel fans to increase the efficiency of the fan in providing directional air flow. See for example, Brown, U.S. Pat. No. 3,060,590, Oct. 30, 1962.

The use of scroll housings around wheel fans was so widely accepted that the identical structure was adopted by applicant and others in the construction of surface flow air conveyors. Some examples of patented surface flow air conveyors using scroll-housed wheel fans follows:

__________________________________________________________________________PATENTS - USAU.S. Pat. No.  GRANT DATE:           TITLE:__________________________________________________________________________3,131,974  May 5, 1964           AIRLIFT CONVEYING OF           SOLID OBJECTS3,180,688  April 27, 1965           AIRLIFT CONVEYING OF           SOLIDS3,267,585  August 23, 1966           CHANGING THE TEMPERATURES           OF OBJECTS BY GAS JETS3,304,619  Feb. 21, 1967           METHOD & MEANS FOR CHANG-           ING THE TEMPERATURE OF           GRANULAR MATERIALS BY           GAS JETS3,394,463  July 30, 1968           ALTERING THE TEMPERATURE           OF GAS CURRENTS3,418,724  Dec. 31, 1968           METHOD & APPARATUS FOR           SUBJECTING MATERIAL TO           CONDITIONING GAS WITH           WHIRLING MOTION3,435,536  April 1, 1969           DISCHARGING PARTICULATE           MATERIAL FROM STORAGE MEANS,           J. W. TINLEY3,555,693  Jan. 19, 1971           METHOD & APPARATUS FOR TREAT-           ING PIECES OF MATERIAL BY           MICROWAVE3,586,382  June 22, 1971           TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM3,647,266  March 7, 1972           VELOCITY CONTROL SYSTEM FOR           AIR CONVEYORS3,734,567  May 22, 1973           AIR CONVEYOR FOR FLAT THIN           ARTICLES3,890,011  June 17, 1975           SUPPLY OBJECTS FROM AN           AIR-FILM CONVEYOR RAPIDLY &           INTERMITTENTLY TO A MACHINE3,980,024  Sept. 14, 1976           AIR PROPELLED VEHICLE           TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM4,078,498  March 14, 1978           SINGLE POWER UNIT AIR           PROPELLED SYSTEMS__________________________________________________________________________

Open wheel fans are manufactured by Chicago Blower Corporation and recommended for use in ovens, dryers, and kilns or penthouses in panel walls, ceilings or floors. See Bulletin Sqpf-107, August, 1978. Another manufacturer of open wheel fans, which are also known as plug fans is The New York Blower Company. See undated Bulletin 724-R which suggest that the wheel and inlet cone be mounted within the plenum in special applications. Typical applications shown on Page 20 of the Bulletin indicate the advantages of using plug fans in systems in which air is recirculated within a closed plenum enclosure.

None of the prior art systems known to applicant indicate that an unhoused wheel fan could be used in the construction of surface flow air conveyors.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The gist of the present invention is the use of an open wheel fan mounted in the plenum of a surface flow air conveyor.

An object of the present invention is to reduce the cost of constructing surface flow air conveyors through the use of less parts and smaller motors and fans.

A further object of the present invention is to reduce power consumption by using smaller electric motors.

Still another object is to reduce shipping costs by reducing the weight of the conveyor and motor and constructing the unit in a more compact form.

A further object is to reduce the size of the conveyor structure so that the unit can be installed in a smaller space.

Another object is to provide a new configuration for the conveyor system so that the conveyor modules can be mass produced rather than custom made for each installation.

Still another object is to provide a system in which additional power units can be easily added or subtracted as conveyor requirements change.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portion of a surface flow air conveyor constructed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the conveyor taken generally along line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the conveyor taken generally along line 3--3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a portion of an alternate form of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a cross section of the conveyor shown in FIG. 4 taken along line 5--5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The surface flow air conveyor of the present invention consists of a sheet metal or plastic elongated conveying surface 1 formed with Coanda-effect directional slit orifices 2 as described in Futer, U.S. Pat. No. 3,980,024, Sept. 14, 1976, which include a series of slit openings 3 and sloping air ramps 4. The conveying surface may be formed with openings of various shapes so long as there are sufficient Coanda-effect directional slit orifices to give a horizontal directional component to the moving air to propel objects along the conveyor.

An elongated plenum 6 is co-extensive and communicates with the conveyor and is formed with a supply-air inlet opening 7. The inlet opening may be provided with an annular ring 8 to smoothly channel supply air through the opening.

A wheel fan 9 such as the airfoil wheel manufactured by Chicago Blower Corporation or the plug fans manufactured by the New York Blower Company is mounted within the plenum adjacent the supply-air inlet opening 7. An electric motor 10 turns the wheel mounted on shaft 11 journaled in bearings 12 mounted in wall 13.

In one form of the invention, fan wheel 9 is mounted in a rectangular plenum 6 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Air flow moves through opening 7 in the direction of arrow 14; changes direction by 90 degrees and is radially propelled from the wheel between the blades 16 in the direction of arrows 17. Note that air is driven "upstream" as well as "downstream" in the plenum.

The preferred form of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 wherein an elongated conveyor module 19 is formed with the same Coanda-effect directional slit orifices as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 in the conveying surface 1'. An elongated plenum 6', having a generally smaller cross section than the plenum illustrated in FIG. 4 communicates with the conveying surface and is formed with a pod opening. The pod opening and pod housing permit supply-air pressurized by the fan to move upstream as well as downstream of the conveyor.

A fan wheel 9' as previously described is mounted on shaft 11' within the pot housing adjacent the air-supply opening 7'. An annular ring 8' may be used in channel in-take air. The pod housing may have various configurations such as square, triangular or curvilinear. The housing shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is simply suggestive of one form the pod housing may take.

The pod housing may be constructed from a single sheet metal member having straight portions 22 and 23 joined by a curved portion 24. The use of a pod housing permits the use of a plenum of smaller cross section; thus reducing the size and weight of the conveyor.

The use of pods also permits the plenums to be mass produced in modular sections. The pod housing, fan wheel and motor are then added to selected plenum modules depending upon the power needs of the conveyor. Thus several pod housings and wheel fans could be added to selected plenums if the conveyor is very long or an unusually high air pressure is required throughout selected portions of the conveyor.

Conventional wisdom taught that scroll housings should be used in connection with wheel fans to obtain maximum outlet pressure. Conventional wisdom also taught that open wheel fans should only be used where space design requirements prevented the mounting of scroll housings outside the plenum. It was found, however, that in surface flow air conveyors, mounting an open wheel fan within the plenum instead of mounting a wheel fan in a scroll housing outside the plenum resulted in an increase in pressure from 1.9 inches of water gauge to 2.4 inches of water gauge in one example test installation. Following this new and surprising and seemingly contradictory result, other surface flow air conveyors have been built with the same surprising increase in air pressure.

An unexpected advantage of finding that a plenum mounted fan wheel was more efficient than an externally mounted fan with a scroll housing was the realization that surface flow air conveyors could now be mass produced in modular sections. As shown in FIG. 1 several modules may be constructed and connected together. Where the conveyor is very long, or the air pressure needs to be boosted, a second conveyor module 19' with another pod housing 21' can be attached to the plenum 6". An additional inlet opening 7" in the pod housing permits air to be drawn in by the fan wheel 9" which is used to pressurize the plenum.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US545013 *Jun 26, 1895Aug 20, 1895 And nicetown
US2678173 *Dec 29, 1950May 11, 1954IbmTape feed mechanism
US3131974 *May 3, 1961May 5, 1964Futer Rudolph EAir-lift conveying of solid objects
US3180688 *May 22, 1963Apr 27, 1965Futer Rudolph EAir-lift conveying of solids
US3266848 *Apr 1, 1965Aug 16, 1966Pitkanen Alan RTransportation system with conveyor means
US3267585 *Mar 3, 1965Aug 23, 1966Futer Rudolph EChanging the temperatures of objects by gas jets
US3394463 *Sep 19, 1966Jul 30, 1968Bangor Punta Operations IncAltering the temperature of material by gas currents
US3418724 *Oct 11, 1967Dec 31, 1968Bangor Punta Operations IncMethod and apparatus for subjecting material to conditioning gas with whirling motion
US3435536 *Apr 19, 1967Apr 1, 1969Bangor Punta Operations IncDischarging particulate material from storage means
US3555693 *Sep 27, 1968Jan 19, 1971Bangor Punta Operations IncMethod and apparatus for treating pieces of material by microwaves
US3586382 *Oct 9, 1969Jun 22, 1971Pitkanen Alan RTransportation system
US3647266 *Jan 8, 1971Mar 7, 1972Bangor Punta Operations IncVelocity control system for air conveyors
US3734567 *Jan 25, 1971May 22, 1973Bangor Punta Operations IncAir conveyor for flat thin articles
US3890011 *Jul 10, 1972Jun 17, 1975Futer Rudolph ESupplying objects from an air-film conveyor rapidly and intermittently to a machine
US3980024 *Nov 18, 1974Sep 14, 1976Futer Rudolph EAir propelled vehicle transportation system
US4078498 *Aug 27, 1976Mar 14, 1978Futer Rudolph ESingle power unit air propelled system
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1Bulletin 724-R, The New York Blower Co., pps. 2-20-1972.
2Bulletin Sqpf-107 Chicago Blower Corp., pp. 2-3-1978.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4828434 *Aug 31, 1987May 9, 1989Goldco Industries, Inc.Device, apparatus and method for distribution of fluid and selective movement of articles thereby
US4955762 *Jul 14, 1989Sep 11, 1990Raymond Production Systems CorporationPlenum fan assembly
US5037245 *Mar 2, 1990Aug 6, 1991Simplimatic Engineering CompanyArticle transfer device and method for air conveyors
US5129765 *Sep 9, 1991Jul 14, 1992Simplimatic Engineering CompanyAir conveyor deck having protuberances
US5178196 *Apr 18, 1991Jan 12, 1993Inter-Pac Packaging CorporationApparatus for filling and emptying containers
US5222840 *Jun 21, 1991Jun 29, 1993The Stolle CorporationDouble plenum air conveyor/accumulator
US5478173 *Jun 24, 1993Dec 26, 1995Simplimatic Engineering CompanyDamperless controlled speed air conveyor
US5517800 *Jun 21, 1994May 21, 1996Brenner; Joseph H.Conveyor with intermittent fluid supply
US5549423 *Jun 6, 1995Aug 27, 1996Simplimatic Engineering CompanyDamperless controlled speed air conveyor
US5570977 *Mar 13, 1995Nov 5, 1996Goldco Industries, Inc.Fluid conveyor for articles
US7434608 *Oct 5, 2004Oct 14, 2008Denso CorporationAir-blowing unit
US20050072554 *Oct 5, 2004Apr 7, 2005Tomohide ShindoAir-blowing unit
USRE37532Aug 20, 1998Jan 29, 2002Century Simplimatic, Inc.Damperless controlled speed air conveyor
WO1990003932A1 *Oct 11, 1989Apr 19, 1990Raymond Production Systems CorporationPlenum fan assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification406/88
International ClassificationB65G51/03
Cooperative ClassificationB65G51/03
European ClassificationB65G51/03
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 4, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: FUTERIZED SYSTEMS, INC., 100 BERRY AVE., HAYWARD,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:FUTER, RUDOLPH E.;REEL/FRAME:004110/0817
Effective date: 19830325
Apr 23, 1985PSPatent suit(s) filed
May 23, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: SIMPLIMATIC ENGINEERING COMPANY, WARDS FERRY ROAD,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:FUTERIZED SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004576/0346
Effective date: 19860509
Feb 25, 1987REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Jul 12, 1987REINReinstatement after maintenance fee payment confirmed
Sep 29, 1987FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 19870712
Sep 17, 1990SULPSurcharge for late payment
Sep 17, 1990FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Apr 11, 1991FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Apr 11, 1991SULPSurcharge for late payment